PROF Denise Varney

PROF Denise Varney


  • (Australian Theatre, Modernism and Modernity, Feminism and Gender)



  • Denise Varney is Professor of Theatre Studies and co-director of the Australian Centre at the University of Melbourne where she has also served as Dean (2018) and Deputy Dean (2016-17) in the Faculty of Arts. She teaches Australian Theatre and Performance, and Modern and Contemporary Drama and supervises PhD students in the English and Theatre Studies Program. Her research is in modern and contemporary theatre and performance with interests in: ecological theatre, theatrical modernism and modernity; feminism; performance affects; identity, gender and ethnicity; and theatre historiography and the archive. She has been lead investigator on three ARC Discovery Projects and contributed to other projects including AusStage. Her latest book is Australian Theatre, Modernism and Patrick White: Governing Culture (2018) co-authored with Sandra D’Urso. Co-edited volumes include Performance Feminism and Affect in Neoliberal Times (Palgrave, 2017) with Elin Diamond and Candice Amich, and Feminist Ecologies: Changing Environments in the Anthropocene with Lara Stevens and Peta Tait (Palgrave, 2018). She is the co-author of monographs Theatre in the Asia Pacific: Regional Modernities in the Global Era (2013) and The Dolls’ Revolution: Australian Theatre and Cultural Imagination (2005) with Rachel Fensham. She is sole author of Radical Visions: The Impact of the Sixties on Australian Drama (2011. Her work is published in leading journals including Theatre Research International, Modern Drama, Contemporary Theatre Review and Performance Research.   


Member of

  • International Federation for Theatre Research. Member of Feminist Research Group 2000 -
  • Australasian Drama Studies Association. Member 1990 -


Selected publications


Investigator on


Education and training

  • PhD, University of Melbourne 1999
  • MA, University of Melbourne 1989
  • GDipEngl, Monash University 1979
  • DipEd, Monash University 1975
  • BA, Monash University 1974


Available for supervision

  • Y

Supervision Statement

  • Denise supervises Masters and PhD theses in Theatre, Drama and Performance Studies. She is interested in contemporary German theatre, feminist criticism and performance, women’s theatre, modern Australian theatre and contemporary drama and performance.